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My Son

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When Josh and I found out we were having a boy, I cried. Not that I had wanted another girl necessarily–I didn’t really care–it was just that, as my hormonal, pregnant self put it, “He’s going to have cooties and be gross!” Josh, thinking I needed some encouragement, suggested we read a book together about raising sons. We picked up Wild Things by Stephen James and David Thomas. It’s an excellent book, but when we finished reading it I cried for hours and hours–this time because “It’s just going to be too hard! He’s going to be a teenager and have boy parts and he won’t know how to talk about his feelings!” Again, hormones may have played a teensy part in those fears.

But when Gareth was born, I fell hard for that little guy. And one of my first thoughts was, “He’s going to grow up and leave me!” Josh assured me that by the time he was 18 I’d probably want him to leave me. I remain unconvinced. But he’s only one year right now, so time will tell.

On the one hand, having a daughter is an incredible blessing. It means dress up, friendship, fanciness, and cuddles. I love seeing the person she’s becoming. But Emmeline drives me crazy in a way only a daughter could. It’s kind of a “Emmeline. Stop whining. I pulled the same thing with my mom. I know what you’re doing here, now grow up” kind of crazy. But Josh? He hates it when his baby girl is upset. She has him wrapped around his finger in a way only a daddy could be.

It’s the same with me and Gareth. And there’s a very fancy, psychological explanation, which Josh told me because he’s a genius, and I forgot because I’m less of a genius. But basically, it comes down to this: with that smile, he gets away with murder. I call it his “Mommy, you’re so pretty!” face. And one day, he’s going to grow up and leave me, and love another woman more than me. But hopefully she will be a good woman who will like me and won’t take him away from me but will let us visit and will let him hug me, and she won’t be insecure about my relationship with Gareth or feel like I’m taking her job when I want to do something to help him. Hopefully. Because he’s my baby, and I love him.

I’ve promised (or threatened, depending on your point of view) that when he’s grown I’m going to have a house key, and I’ll sneak into his room late at night and rock him like the mommy in Love You Forever (which is a must-have children’s book if you’re a mommy to a boy). That won’t be weird, and his wife will be OK with it because I know he’s going to marry an understanding woman and she is going to love me–and give me a house key. It’s cool.

And sometime between now and when he gets married I should probably visit a shrink because I clearly have unresolved fears towards my future daughter-in-law. But that can wait. Because Gareth is still little right now, and I’m still his favorite woman on the planet, and we both like it that way.

“Mommy, you’re so pretty! You’re just the greatest Mommy ever! Now will you please hold me in your lap and hand-feed me my chocolate cereal?”
“Of course, Son. Anything for you my sweet boy.”


4 responses »

  1. Mawmaw (Connie)

    I can’t believe you are already writing your “I’m-giving-him-to-you letter” for your future daughter-in-law. Oh yes, you are Katie Mathis Krebs… Yes, you would do that. Be sure to print this blog and save it in a good place that you can find in 20+ years to give to your new daughter-in-law. I wrote “I’m-giving-him-to-you letters” to each of my daughter-in-laws at the time of their marriage. When your mom and dad married, I guess I wasn’t into “this writing thing”; we just knew that we had already accepted this new son into our family. And walla…. look at the wonderful grandchildren they gave us. We love you. Mawmaw

    • You’re right, that is how it reads. I didn’t set out to write that; I just wrote about what had been on my mind. I should save it–and maybe write an addendum in 18 years.

  2. Wow – you’ve just said what every mother thinks about her boys (and her girls, too) but is afraid to say out loud. It has been suggested that I favor one child above another. And it’s true – I have favored each of my children above the others at some point in their lives. Unfair? Perhaps, but at the time, necessary to that particular child’s relationship with me. I believe that a mother’s relationship is different with each child, and “outsiders” can’t see what the two of us feel. And that’s just fine with me.

    • Well put! I’ve always told Josh that I love both my children equally, but sometimes I like one of them more than the other. And you’re right, it’s something only a mother understands.


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